Of the 9 most common fears in the world, my favorite is Public Speaking. Its the only fear that once you overcome, can launch you to success. Some people feel the minor version of public speaking, and that is presenting to small crowds, such as sales meetings, sales with customers etc. If you feel anxious, its absolutely normal. How then can you overcome that fear?
Ponder for a moment, just for 5 seconds. What drives that fear of yours? Are you afraid that Murphy’s Law might hit you? Afraid that your boss is in a fuming mad mood? Or afraid that the sky might fall? For me, its the fear of making a mistake. Its the one fear that locks me down. It creates a mental forcefield around me that prevents me from reaching to my audience. I hate it.
As to the fear of public speaking, the most common problem reason is that people fear making mistakes in front of an audience and they dread the humiliation that might ensue. Let me share with you the 2 things that I use to help me prepare for my talks and they work GREAT by the way.
Mental Point 1. Always prepare for your talks/presentations/proposals. If you have not, then you have ALL the reason to fear. May some pigeon poop on you if you have not prepared yourself.
While preparing for the talk, NEVER allow yourself to be more prepared than 70%. 70% consists of the structure of the talk, the general content that you will use to back up your points. You may memorize your presentations but don’t be overly particular about it because its the surest way that you will feel the fear.
What then is the other 30% consist of? Well you fear cos you are afraid that you might make mistakes. This 30% is space for you to make mistakes. Instead of fearing that you will make mistakes, tell yourself that you are going to make a few mistakes and this 30% is space for you to maneuver your way around your blunders. Its space to allow you to recover from mistakes rather than harp on: Oh no oh no oh no, what’s the next sentence! One of the biggest reasons that this fear is so powerful is that it drives you to memorize every single line and make sure that you are 100% sure before going on. The problem with that is that one little mistake, and your construct crumbles. Rather than being all perfect, leave yourself 30% space to make mistakes. You never know what good might come out of it. For me, the 30% space allows me to make humor out of my blunders. Its the easiest way to please the crowd and show your professionalism.
Mental Point 2: Always take a slow, deep mindful breath before the talk. When you go onstage, pace yourself, be conscious about your speed. The moment you feel your speed increasing, lick your lips and pause for half a second, before slowing down your breathing speed and resuming the calm centered speed.
All those public speaking workshops that there are in the market try to send you these 2 points one way or the other. Try them, they work! I know it sure worked for me when I went on for my first live interview about my book “A Bowl Full Of Ice Cream” in the morning show! (:
*If He could speak his way to presidency, I don’t see why YOU can’t (: